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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
Dave L

Absolute Predestination

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Dave L

 

We have many good conversations about predestination. But we seldom define the degree to which predestination affects the universe and all.

At the least it appears many think God imagined the universe before he created it. Let it run its own course without his intervention. And then created what he saw. Making it unchangeable and therefore predestined to happen just as he foresaw it.

 

Another view, the most extreme says: God created all, including every thought and act of every creature in the universe when he created the universe. That not a grain of sand on the furthest planet shifts position without God who also created its path and movements in the appointed time.

 

Both extremes depend on God’s perfect knowledge. If God only energizes but doesn’t control all, he then must watch and learn what might or might not happen. And this would mean he is not all knowing as the bible says.

 

Other theories emerge but the Westminster Confession (London Baptists Confession) Chapter 3:1; God's Eternal Decree defines biblical predestination this way.

 

1.     God, from all eternity, did—by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will—freely and unchangeably ordain whatever comes to pass. Yet he ordered all things in such a way that he is not the author of sin, nor does he force his creatures to act against their wills; neither is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.

 

So as I understand, we freely choose for the reasons God created along with us. Reasons we would freely base our choices on as we meet up with them at the right time and place in life. 

 

This resolves free will and divine sovereignty.

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deade

I fully in believe predestination. I also believe we will never fully understand it while we live in the flesh. Some things will just have to wait until we no longer looking through glass darkly (1 Cor. 13:12). I believe predestination does not negate our choices. How they work together is just speculation and above my current pay grade. Nuff said.   :RpS_thumbsup:

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William
Staff

Curious as to whether anyone understands the benefit of learning the doctrine of predestination?

 

In my mind, in the life of the believer this doctrine draws out a simple response "Soli Deo Gloria!"

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ChristianNewbieForever

I don't like predestination because there are different interpretations and arguments surrounding it.  I'm not saying I think it should be thrown out.  But Man it's a hard subject, that really effects the way you see yourself in God's plan.  I recently saw two people who testified that they walked away from the Christian faith due to their understanding of Romans 8 and 9, Ephesians 1:5 and Ephesians 1:11.  I myself began struggling with it as well.  As long as you feel like you are chosen, all is well.  But if at any point you start to feel that maybe God predestined you for eternal punishment in hell, you got a problem.

Edited by ChristianNewbieForever

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William
Staff
2 hours ago, ChristianNewbieForever said:

But if at any point you start to feel that maybe God predestined you for eternal punishment in hell, you got a problem.

And that's a distortion or misunderstanding of predestination. Granted, most that reject predestination do not rightfully understand the Scriptural doctrine, but they instead reject a strawman of their own making under the label of predestination. To add a little more confusion there's the doctrine of predestination and then double predestination. If I may, the easiest way to understand the differences is to note that the doctrine of predestination only addresses the elect <full stop>. End of discussion. Whereas double predestination answers the question "what about the reprobate"? Most of the distortions and/or misunderstandings surround double predestination or what is known as a Reformed doctrine of predestination.

 

The distortion of double predestination takes place in a positive-positive schema (symmetrical). Only the positive-negative schema is orthodox (true and correct). The positive-positive schema (distortion and incorrect) suggests that God decrees some to election and decrees some to hell. The positive-negative schema is classical Reformed and suggests that God decrees some to election and passes over (negative) rather than decreeing others or the non elect and reprobate to hell. In other words, the natural man is left to himself to deal with his sin nature without God's intervention. God will hold the natural man accountable and responsible for his sinful decisions.

 

In the Reformed view God from all eternity decrees some to election and positively intervenes in their lives to work regeneration and faith by a monergistic work of grace. To the non-elect God withholds this monergistic work of grace, passing them by and leaving them to themselves. He does not monergistically work sin or unbelief in their lives. Even in the case of the “hardening” of the sinners’ already recalcitrant hearts, God does not, as Luther stated, “work evil in us (for hardening is working evil) by creating fresh evil in us.” Luther continued:

 

When men hear us say that God works both good and evil in us, and that we are subject to God’s working by mere passive necessity, they seem to imagine a man who is in himself good, and not evil, having an evil work wrought in him by God; for they do not sufficiently bear in mind how incessantly active God is in all His creatures, allowing none of them to keep holiday. He who would understand these matters, however, should think thus: God works evil in us (that is, by means of us) not through God’s own fault, but by reason of our own defect. We being evil by nature, and God being good, when He impels us to act by His own acting upon us according to the nature of His omnipotence, good though He is in Himself, He cannot but do evil by our evil instrumentality; although, according to His wisdom, He makes good use of this evil for His own glory and for our salvation.

 

Thus, the mode of operation in the lives of the elect is not parallel with that operation in the lives of the reprobate. God works regeneration monergistically but never sin. Sin falls within the category of providential concurrence.

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ThyWordisTruth
14 hours ago, William said:

The distortion of double predestination takes place in a positive-positive schema (symmetrical). Only the positive-negative schema is orthodox (true and correct). The positive-positive schema (distortion and incorrect) suggests that God decrees some to election and decrees some to hell. The positive-negative schema is classical Reformed and suggests that God decrees some to election and passes over (negative) rather than decreeing others or the non elect and reprobate to hell. In other words, the natural man is left to himself to deal with his sin nature without God's intervention.

That is just playing with words. If we can apply the most elementary logic, and draw out the implication of God not predestining somebody to eternal life, when the only alternative is death, God himself certainly can.

Edited by ThyWordisTruth
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Faber

John Calvin on Romans 9:22

 

 But if we wish fully to understand Paul, almost every word must be examined. He then argues thus, — There are vessels prepared for destruction, that is, given up and appointed to destruction: they are also vessels of wrath, that is, made and formed for this end, that they may be examples of God’s vengeance and displeasure. If the Lord bears patiently for a time with these, not destroying them at the first moment, but deferring the judgment prepared for them, and this in order to set forth the decisions of his severity, that others may be terrified by so dreadful examples, and also to make known his power, to exhibit which he makes them in various ways to serve; and, further, that the amplitude of his mercy towards the elect may hence be more fully known and more brightly shine forth; — what is there worthy of being reprehended in this dispensation? But that he is silent as to the reason, why they are vessels appointed to destruction, is no matter of wonder. He indeed takes it as granted, according to what has been already said, that the reason is hid in the secret and inexplorable counsel of God; whose justice it behoves us rather to adore than to scrutinize.

https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/romans-9.html

 

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theophilus
22 hours ago, William said:

The positive-negative schema is classical Reformed and suggests that God decrees some to election and passes over (negative) rather than decreeing others or the non elect and reprobate to hell.

It seems to me that the positive-negative schema should be labeled active-passive.  God actively chooses some to be saved; by passing over the others he passively predestines them to damnation.

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William
Staff
11 hours ago, ThyWordisTruth said:

That is just playing with words. If we can apply the most elementary logic, and draw out the implication of God not predestining somebody to eternal life, when the only alternative is death, God himself certainly can.

Right, and while I agree with you, in the context of election predestination takes place before the foundation of the world.

 

And of course there is elementary logic and implications applied, for example every natural man rejects God as the result of his/her nature or the doctrine of original sin. I'm sure Pelagians ought to accept what you stated ThyWordisTruth, because the elementary logic and implications that flow from their own decisions is merely holding them accountable and responsible for what they already want. Say God gave some what they wanted before the foundation of the world in context of election and I'm sure many will object or put on some pouty faces. Any idea as to why that may be ThyWordisTruth?

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ThyWordisTruth
19 hours ago, William said:

Right, and while I agree with you, in the context of election predestination takes place before the foundation of the world.

 

And of course there is elementary logic and implications applied, for example every natural man rejects God as the result of his/her nature or the doctrine of original sin. I'm sure Pelagians ought to accept what you stated ThyWordisTruth, because the elementary logic and implications that flow from their own decisions is merely holding them accountable and responsible for what they already want. Say God gave some what they wanted before the foundation of the world in context of election and I'm sure many will object or put on some pouty faces. Any idea as to why that may be ThyWordisTruth?

Presumably because they would want to say that God couldn’t have known what they would want - they hadn’t decided yet. Only that would make them Open Theists.

Edited by ThyWordisTruth

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Faber
1 minute ago, ThyWordisTruth said:

Presumably because they would want to say that God couldn’t have known what they would want - they hadn’t decided yet. Only that that would make them Open Theists.

 Interesting point.

God is making His decision based on their choice, but what if God has always known their choice. Thus He isn't waiting to find out.

 

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ThyWordisTruth
1 hour ago, Faber said:

 Interesting point.

God is making His decision based on their choice, but what if God has always known their choice. Thus He isn't waiting to find out.

 

God has always known how they would choose. Quite right. But then he created them in the knowledge that they would choose in that way, when he could have created them complete with some alternative history in front of them. Ipso facto, he predestines them to either life or death.

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Faber
29 minutes ago, ThyWordisTruth said:

he predestines them to either life or death.

 Agree.

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ThyWordisTruth
1 hour ago, Faber said:

 Agree.

He predestines to either life or death without reference to his foreknowledge. The latter flows from the former.

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ChristianNewbieForever

I'm not a Phd, and I don't feel qualified to enter into a logical discussion.  Rather I enter into this discussion because I'm alive, and simply being alive, and wanting to be right with God, combined with my Church past, makes me feel icky about this topic.  The best I can do is point people to someone I think is a very well educated person on this subject.

 

My Church history is:  I grew up in a Wesleyan Based Church, then spent many years in a Calvinist Church, then went back to Wesleyan Based Church, and then went Back to a Calvinist Church, Then Back to a Wesleyan Church, and currently in a Non Denominational Church.  Does this make me an expert?  NO, it makes me confused.  (Since most of my Church History has been very painful, I may make a post about it, sometime)

 

I don't have much to add but I've been listening to Dr. Leighton Flowers, for over a year now, and He seems to be a very Godly man who wants people get right with Jesus.  He's the kind that was a Calvinist for 10 years, and even helped split up a Church over his Calvinism.  He wouldn't marry his girl friend until she read a Calvinistic book and agreed that she believed that way.  He also taught Calvinism and convinced many to become Calvinists.  And yet He's been studying this stuff deeply and has turned away from Calvinism.  All the Calvinists He looked up to spoke highly of AW Tozer and CS Lewis.  Then He began wondering how come men like AW Tozer and CS Lewis weren't Calvinists?  If some of you like debating this stuff, Dr. Leighton Flowers allows people to come on his youtube show and talk with him.  I would have fun listening to our Webmaster William talk with  Dr. Leighton Flowers.  (Go to his youtube channel and you find others who have done the samething) At least it would give me something interesting to listen too while I clean a school at night.

 

Leighton Flowers has covered the issue with Pelagianism.  If everything that Leighton says is true then Pelagian is the strawman of the Calvinist.  Because they almost always dismiss the Non Calvinist by calling them a Pelagian, which is like saying "Your a heretic go away"  Link to article:  https://soteriology101.com/2016/02/18/pelagianism-the-calvinists-boogie-man/

 

Link to Dr. Leighton Flowers Youtube Channel:  https://www.youtube.com/user/MrLeightonFlowers/videos

 

Two Videos on Two people who left the Christian faith based on Calvinistic view:

 

Romans 9 leads Megan Phelps to leave Christianity

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62sKs7HXocM

 

Derek Webb: A Reformed Atheist?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSH0t_a443s

 

That's all I got for adding to this subject for now.  There are some things I wish I could add.  For example Those are two public figures.  I think it would be nice to have other examples.  But it is all I got for now.  Also I want to add just one last thing.  While at a glance it appears that Dr. Flowers is completely against Calvinism, if you watch some of the videos you will realize that He actually loves his Calvinist Friends, and still respects them.  The channel is for trying to boost the non calvinist view point in the google search results.  Since it seems like it's mostly the Calvinist who write the deeper theology.  Dr. Flowers tries to prove that there is deep theology on both sides.

Edited by ChristianNewbieForever

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Hawkins

Earth is a place for humans to show up as who they are.

A covenant is to identify the righteous (saved) from the wicked (unsaved).

A predestination is to facilitate the above. 

 

The wicked don't need a predestination because it is super easy to expose them as who they are (they sin without exception).

It is however difficult for the righteous to be told apart (they sin too), without predestination that is.

Predestination is about how God design a fate for the righteous to make critical choices along the path, such that they can be told apart from the wicked and thus openly judged as the righteous by the covenant applicable.

 

On the other hand, a covenant (unlike absolute Law) is not a complete objective mean to make the final judgment. It is however accurate enough for valid witnessing (of angels and saints) to be made. To put it another way, predestination makes it possible for your deeds to be witnessed by the chosen angels and human saints (i.e., Moses, Elijah and etc.) such that they can reckon you as the righteous by referencing a covenant in place which is applicable to you. However, this is not absolute. Jesus Christ is the final Judge. He says that you passed then you passed, He says that you are done then you are done.

 

For an example, the angels or saints may not be able to tell that theft on the cross besides Jesus is finally the saved. It's an extreme case that he's not "witnessed" but subject to the final decision of Jesus. To the mass majority of humans however, their deeds will tell them apart under the open witnessing of the angels and saints, by means of predestination and a covenant in place.

 

God knows who will be saved in the end by His foreknowledge but He didn't predestine them to be saved or condemned. He predestined the saved to make critical choices to show them up as who they are such that they will be saved by a said standard which is made known to everyone (i.e., a covenant). They are saved by such an open standard under the open witnessing of the angels and saints. Law itself gives the complete right to Jesus Christ to make the final judgment. Alternatively speaking, Jesus Christ earned this right by His own bloodshed. Those failed the judgment of covenant (i.e., by Jesus Christ) will subject themselves to another objective judgment, which is the the judgment by God's absolute Law (one which applicable to both angels and humans). No humans are expected to survive this judgment by Law (angels will survive though). 

 

The estimated final result is thus, those angels passing the judgment of Law, together with those humans passing the judgment of covenant (i.e., judgment of Jesus Christ) will make their way into the final Heaven where they live with God forever and ever.

Edited by Hawkins
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Hawkins
1 hour ago, Hawkins said:

Earth is a place for humans to show up as who they are.

A covenant is to identify the righteous (saved) from the wicked (unsaved).

A predestination is to facilitate the above. 

 

 

That being said, in a broader sense you are still correct to say that "we are predestined to be saved." However it's never proper to conclude that "they are predestined to be condemned."

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deade
13 hours ago, Hawkins said:

 

That being said, in a broader sense you are still correct to say that "we are predestined to be saved." However it's never proper to conclude that "they are predestined to be condemned."

You give some valid points in your last two posts. I think it is best we Christians make the right choices, for God doesn't let us in on this predestination thing. Or just fix ourselves on serving Christ and not give ourselves any choices tomorrow. That works for me.

 

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davidtaylorjr
21 hours ago, Hawkins said:

However it's never proper to conclude that "they are predestined to be condemned."

Why? Is it not the truth? Did God not actually choose to not call those people?

 

23 hours ago, Hawkins said:

God knows who will be saved in the end by His foreknowledge but He didn't predestine them to be saved or condemned.

This is not true. God knew who he would call. We cannot be saved without his effectual call. Romans 8:28-30. 

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Hawkins
7 hours ago, davidtaylorjr said:

Why? Is it not the truth? Did God not actually choose to not call those people?

 

Already explained in great details in my first post. You don't seem to get what is said.

 

Quote

This is not true. God knew who he would call. We cannot be saved without his effectual call. Romans 8:28-30. 

 

That doesn't conflict what I said. Again, you don't seem to get the point. 

 

What you said here is about how everyone is invited but not everyone is chosen. This however doesn't contradict what I said on the one hand and it's not my focus on the other. Re-read my first post. If you still can't get the point, just leave it there for others to have a read.

Edited by Hawkins

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William
Staff
7 hours ago, davidtaylorjr said:

Why? Is it not the truth? Did God not actually choose to not call those people?

 

This is not true. God knew who he would call. We cannot be saved without his effectual call. Romans 8:28-30

Hawkins is actually right David on this particular point.

 

Double predestination is a positive negative schema. That is God positively Elects to salvation and negatively passes over the reprobate. The positive positive schema is a distortion of the Reformed doctrine of double predestination. Such a positive positive schema suggests that God elects some but causes others to sin. God passing over the reprobate is not God actively working sin into anyone's life, but rather leaving people to themselves to work sin in their own lives from which they'll be held accountable and responsible. God is not obligated to positively intervene and monergistically save anyone.

 

I already addressed this common distortion also:

 

 

 

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davidtaylorjr
On 12/20/2018 at 2:58 PM, William said:

That is God positively Elects to salvation and negatively passes over the reprobate.

I understand this, but passing over them IS an active choice.

 

On 12/20/2018 at 2:58 PM, William said:

Such a positive positive schema suggests that God elects some but causes others to sin.

I disagree that this argues God causing sin.

 

On 12/20/2018 at 2:58 PM, William said:

God passing over the reprobate is not God actively working sin into anyone's life, but rather leaving people to themselves to work sin in their own lives from which they'll be held accountable and responsible.

I agree. But the point is, God does make an active choice not to elect by passing over them and leaving them to their ways.

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Faber
1 minute ago, davidtaylorjr said:

passing over them IS an active choice.

 

 

 By not choosing is a choice to reject.

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davidtaylorjr
Just now, Faber said:

 

 By not choosing is a choice to reject.

Exactly

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William
Staff
4 hours ago, davidtaylorjr said:

I understand this, but passing over them IS an active choice.

 

I disagree that this argues God causing sin.

 

I agree. But the point is, God does make an active choice not to elect by passing over them and leaving them to their ways.

My objection was to God predestining someone to hell.

 

 

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